During last month’s PNC Championship, the pessimists among us grieved the plight of Charlie Axel Woods. The warning cries echoed something like this: the soon-to-be teenager’s youthful innocence and exuberance he displays on the golf course will, one day, be mercilessly scraped away by unrelenting media pressure and the impossibly large shadow his dad casts. Charlie’s own self-awareness will evolve to understand how often his name is being typed into a Google search and how he will never be afforded relative anonymity.
If he continues to play golf competitively, the expectations will be several shades beyond unrealistic, bordering on the absurd. There are already odds for him to win a PGA Tour event before he is 20 years old or a major before he reaches 30 years old. No pressure.
Even if he doesn’t choose golf, he will be forced to block out the cacophony. He will have to define success and happiness on his own terms, something his own father has long wrestled with both publicly and privately. Charlie’s birth year, 2009, will be...
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